Canadians love to travel in Canada. And who can blame us? From hiking in the Rockies to whale-watching in Newfoundland, the options are nearly limitless.

If you love exploring our great country, there’s a good chance you’ve been forgetting to pack a very important item: travel insurance. You probably know you need it for trips to other countries, but did you know that travel insurance for Canadians is also a good idea for trips to other provinces?

What your provincial health-care plan doesn’t cover

By and large, our health-care system covers our medical needs without causing us financial hardships, so many of us believe we have a national health-care plan that protects us equally across the country. In fact, our health-care expenses are covered by provincial health insurance plans — and the extent of that coverage differs from province to province. That means that while the provinces do cover some medical services for their residents while they’re elsewhere in the country, they may only pay the equivalent of what the service would cost in the home province. So, if something costs less where you live than in the province where you’re visiting, your provincial health-care plan may pay only part of a medical bill you might run up while you’re there. You could be responsible for the rest. What’s more, provincial plans won’t typically pay for:

  • Air or ground ambulance transportation
  • Prescription drugs
  • Dental emergencies
  • Medical transportation to your home province

Without a private travel medical insurance policy, you will have to pay for these expenses out of your own pocket.

What non-medical travel insurance covers

Besides medical costs, you may run into expenses for other travel-related events, such as lost luggage, damaged items and trip cancellation. There’s a type of private travel insurance called a non-medical policy that will reimburse you for these types of expenses. You can buy this coverage on its own, or as part of a package policy that includes medical coverage.

If you decide to take your vacation in Canada this year, remember that even though we use the same money everywhere, we don’t have the same health-care coverage. If you visit another province, consider packing a travel insurance policy.